Upton Sinclair portrays the economic tension in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries through his novel “The Jungle”. He used the story of a Lithuanian immigrant, Jurgis Rudkus, to show the harsh situation that immigrants had to face in the United States, the unsanitary and unsafe working conditions in the meatpacking plants, as well as the tension between the capitalism and socialism in the United States during the early 1900s.
Famously known for his novel, The Jungle, Upton Sinclair changed American life in the early 1900s without a doubt through his literature. However, many don’t realize that Sinclair reformed American life in more than one instance, through more than one book. At times, he even reached beyond his realm of literature to discuss other needed adjustments. Besides the serendipitous changes he created for the meat packaging industry, Sinclair’s other actions throughout his life are, subjectively, important to American history, according to Anthony Arthur. In his biography, Radical Innocent: Upton Sinclair, Arthur reveals his bias towards Sinclair, while supplying a relevant nature to his writing across an in-depth review of Sinclair’s
When Upton Sinclair, a progressive era muckraker, wrote The Jungle in 1906, he was attempting to bring knowledge of the horrific conditions in Packingtown to the average citizen. His revelations on the terrors of Packingtown helped to slowly improve the lives of the immigrants. Sinclair’s pursuit of knowledge relates to the slowly growing knowledge of the characters in The Jungle. Throughout the story the characters find themselves in many tragic circumstances that could have been more easily avoided if they had been more aware of their surroundings. The immigrants are full of a false hope for success that disillusions the reality of their life. Examples of the consequences of lack of ignorance can be found in other literary works such as Two Sheep by Janet Frame. The overwhelming absence of knowledge in combination with unrealistic hope is the cause of the frequent dilemmas they encounter, and by that definition, can be considered the antagonist of The Jungle.
All the elements and conflicts presented in the book leads to the theme of socialism. Upton Sinclair is a supporter of the socialist move. To the point of writing this work is to elicit sympathy for the working class and build support for socialism. Everything within the book is criticizing capitalism; the only remedy for the evils of capitalism is socialism (Sinclair). In capitalism, the upper-class keep getting richer by exploiting the lower working class, leaving a wide gap between the wealthy and the impoverished. Instead of splitting the population and using hardworking people unfairly, socialism allows an equal share among everyone so there is not a huge split between the wealth of a group. The packers and factory leaders all use the
Upton Sinclair wrote a novel in 1906 titled, “The Jungle”. The book focused on the harsh working conditions of immigrants in the United States. Sinclair wasn’t the only person who focused on and exploited companies with horrendous working conditions - Emma Goldman was a young, outspoken feminist who was jailed many times for her speeches calling out the upper class. One of Goldman’s more famous speeches is titles, “Patriotism: A Menace to Liberty” (1908) (Zinn 270). The speech states, “Indeed, conceit, arrogance, and egotism are the essentials of patriotism.” (Zinn 270). Goldman essentially goes on to state that the Navy and Army are just players and hundreds and thousands of dollars are spent on their
The Jungle written by Upton Sinclair was an expose on the life of those who lived in Packingtown, Chicago. Packingtown was where most of the people who was looking for work lived, it was a very crowded city. Job openings were scarce and most of the jobs were very unsafe. Most of the people in this part of town were poor, so they did not really have much doubts of food,. The Jungle exposed the horrific work conditions, the poor food quality, and the deceitfulness of the business owners.
The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, is a renowned source of political fiction that pioneered the movement of food safety in the United States. The Jungle was first published in a socialist newspaper in 1905 and then later adapted into a novel in 1906 after popular demand. Sinclair initially wrote the exposé as a way to change the unfortunate circumstances of immigrant laborers, whose working conditions that were believed to be unacceptable for any laborer in the industry. Sinclair leaves short references of his political opinions in the novel in various locations throughout the text “As if political liberty made wage slavery any the more tolerable!” (Sinclair 31). Written as an indirect
As industrial strength grew and technology advanced, labor in America changed. Machines replaced many of workers’ old duties and some skilled laborers who had been previously valued became easily replaced. Immigrants who were willing to work under poorer conditions flooded into the United States, big businesses grew, and political machines whose interests were not that of the people occupied the government. Laborers worked ten hour shifts, six-day workweeks, and started work as children. In The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, he describes the painful and vigorous work in the meat-packing industry, saying, “The hands of these men would be criss-crossed with cuts, until you could no longer pretend to count them...They would have no nails, they had worn them off pulling hides; their knuckles were swollen so that their fingers spread out like a fan. There were men who worked in the cooking-rooms...in these rooms the germs of tuberculosis might live for two years.” These suffering Americans appealed to the government and labor unions for help, but they did not receive it due to lack of union organization, big business ties, and laissez-faire economic ideals. During the Gilded Age, the U.S. government suppressed the average industrial worker, and labor unions, though created for laborers’ aid, accomplished little and were futile when facing big business and government.
When Upton Sinclair wrote the Jungle, a book about the terrible environment of the meat-packing factories in Chicago, he hoped to motivate reform in immigrant working conditions and promote socialism. Instead, what shocked readers the most was the sordid surroundings in which their future meals were prepared. Sinclair 's audience saw these conditions as a threat to themselves, and that energized reform in the meat-packing industry. What scared audiences the most was how real this threat was to their lives. As can be witnessed in the results of Sinclair 's crusade, the most effective propaganda is that which rouses the visceral survival instinct. Donald Trump, a notorious real estate mogul, is running for president on a platform that started
Upton Sinclair, a well-known muckraker of the early 1900s, wrote a novel called The Jungle, which highlighted the negative effects of capitalism and the corruption of society at the time. Sinclair wrote the novel with his primary goal being to bring awareness to society’s corruption and to push forward the ideas of socialism. To accomplish this, a connection is established between the reader and the protagonist, Jurgis Rudkus, who struggles under a capitalist society. The antagonist is then presented as not one single character, but as the system of capitalism that oppresses workers like Jurgis and his family, as well as the economic structure of society that puts wealth and power into the hands of only a few individuals.
Literature is where one could go to explore the highest and lowest points of human society, find the absolute truth, and support it using personal experiences and knowledge. Such is the case with writer Upton Sinclair, who grew up experiencing both sides of wealth and class divisions. By reflecting on his experiences with class division, Upton Sinclair’s exposé not only sheds light on the fight for workers rights but also incorporates a Socialist philosophy.
Upton Sinclair’s book, The Jungle, depicts the struggles of Lithuanian immigrants as they worked and lived in Chicago’s Packingtown at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. The United States experienced an enormous social and political transformation; furthermore, the economy, factories, and transportation industry grew faster than anyone had ever seen. Immigrants and migrants were attracted to city life for its promise of employment and their chance at the American Dream. The poor working class had little to no rights, and they grappled with unfair business practices, unsafe working conditions, racism, Social Darwinism, class segregation, xenophobia, political corruption, strikes, starvation, poor housing,
Charles Darwin, the inventor of the evolutionary theory, believed that our genetics are shaped over time by the patterns of natural selection and the surrounding environment. According to the theory, even humans are susceptible of such process and are guaranteed no free will as the surrounding is what shapes and determines the lives of each individual. Naturalism – the literary theory that one’s surroundings and background dictates their fate and often the exposure of the indifference of nature to human struggle – has been the theme of many pieces of literature that depicts the miseries of human life and its tendency to converge towards the society’s pre-set standards. Jack London and Upton Sinclair are amongst the most notorious writers throughout
During the time period of the 1900’s, the meat packaging industry in Chicago, as Sinclair mentions in his novel, The Jungle, was a very unsanitary and extremely dangerous workplace that lacked much more than just a few safety precautions. Simple things, such as enforcing hand washing or workers’ rights were unheard of in the working environment. It is clear that Upton Sinclair was trying to expose the worker’s horrendous labor conditions in order to improve their situation, along with the introduction of socialism.